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What is Itching His Eye?

Your dog may occasionally rub or claw at their eye when dirt or a small foreign object irritates their eye. This can easily be alleviated by flushing the affected eye with water or saline solution. You should be concerned if your dog is continually itching or rubbing their eye. This is indicative of a potential problem that may require veterinarian intervention. 

Sometimes, your dog’s eyes may run or feel itchy during certain times or the year or when they are exposed to an allergen. Allergies can usually be treated simply, just consult with your veterinarian before you give your dog any over the counter medication for their allergies. 

Other possible conditions for why your dog is itching his eye include:

  • In-grown eyelids
  • Inflammation from infection
  • Irritation 
  • Allergies
  • Prolapse of the third eyelid
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Pink eye

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Why Itching His Eye Occurs in Dogs

There are several reasons why your dog is itching his eye. When you notice your dog itching their eye excessively, you will need to examine the affected eye for any visible foreign object. You can flush the eye with warm water or a sterile saline solution. If flushing the eye does not remove the irritant, you will need to make an immediate appointment with your veterinarian. When it comes to eye care, it is essential that you have your veterinarian assess your dog and provide appropriate treatment.

In-Grown Eyelids

In-grown eyelids can be a hereditary problem or they can be the result of continuous inflammation. The eyelids will turn inside and the eyelashes press against the eye. When your dog itches or rubs at the affected eye, they can create a large ulcer. 

Inflammation From Infection

When you notice the area around the eye or even the eye itself is inflamed, that is generally a sign of an infection in the eye. Your veterinarian will prescribe eye drops and may even prescribe oral antibiotics. 

Irritation and Allergies

Dry eye, dirt, pollen or other small foreign particles can invade your dog’s eyes. These foreign particles can cause scratches on the cornea and intense irritation. You can flush your dog’s eye with a sterile saline solution. If the eye is still irritated after flushing it be sure to contact your veterinarian and have it checked.

Prolapse of the Third Eyelid

Your dog has a third eyelid that protects the cornea and the gland within the third eyelid produces tears to provide lubrication for the cornea. The gland will sometimes become swollen and then bulge up and over the top of the third eyelid. This can cause irritation and will produce yellow mucus. 

Corneal Ulcer

This will occur when your dog experiences a more severe eye injury, usually from a foreign object such as a cat’s claw, thorn or twig. Your veterinarian will need to assess your dog’s corneal ulcer and determine the best course of action. Most dogs make a full recovery from a corneal ulcer.

Pink Eye

Dog pink eye, also known as dog conjunctivitis, will affect your dog the same as pink eye affects humans. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose dog pink eye quickly based on the symptoms and begin treatments immediately.

What to do if your Dog is Itching His Eye

Anytime your dog is continually itching at their eye you should contact your veterinarian and have them look at the affected eye. You do not want to medicate your dog with over the counter medications or home remedies as you could cause irreversible damage to the eye. 

Some eye issues will require more intensive medical treatments and prescription medications. In-grown eyelids usually will require a simple surgery to roll the eyelid outward so the eyelashes do not irritate your dog’s eye.  A prolapsed third eyelid may also require surgery and the removal of the gland on the third eyelid. Antibiotics and prescription eye drops may also be a necessary part of treatment.

In some instances, a canine ophthalmologist may be needed to treat more severe eye injuries or conditions. If you do not treat your dog’s eye issue properly, you could cause permanent damage.

Prevention of Itching His Eye

There are some conditions that are simply not preventable, those conditions are usually hereditary. Other conditions can be prevented by doing daily checks of your dog’s eyes and immediately taking action when you notice your dog itching his eye.

Dogs with known allergies may need to take allergy medications and avoid the allergens that cause the irritation. Make sure that their environment is clean and allergen free. Ask your veterinarian about lubricating eye drops if your dog is suffering from irritation or dry eyes. 

Cost of Itching His Eye

Costs will vary depending on the condition and the demographic. On average, in-grown eyelids can cost around $350 to treat. Corneal ulcers, lacerations or infections can range in cost from $200 to $2500. Prolapsed third eyelid treatment can average in cost about $600.

Itching His Eye Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

One Year
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Swollen eye area

My dog has been scratching around his eyes. it has even caused bleeding and he scratched off his fur. what should I do I can’t afford to get him checked out for another three weeks but im afraid his eye eventually will close shut.

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
237 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It sounds like it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian sooner than three weeks. He may have a bacterial infection, a parasite, or a fungal infection, among other things. There are many clinics that offer a 'free first exam', so that you can have him seen and get an idea as to what might be causing this. It would be better to take care of this sooner than later, as complications can develop if eye conditions are untreated. I hope that he does well.

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Blue Heeler
8 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


My 8 month puppy is scratching just above her right eye. The eye itself looks fine, but above the eye (eyelid area?) looks like it may have a small cut that's bothering her? It looks like she may have rubbed some of her hair off too. It doesn't look infected, but it seems to be bothering her. What should I do?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
237 Recommendations
Thanks for contacting us about Macie today. It actually would be a good idea to have your veteirnarian look at the spot above her eye. It may just be a scratch or an irritation, but puppies are prone to a parasite called Demodex, and it would be good to rule that out and make sure that it is nothing to worry about. Demodex is not an infectious parasite, but does sometimes require treatment if it doesn't improve.

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American bully
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Itchy eye

Medication Used


I have a American Bully who is 2yrs old. We're from Arizona moved to California ever since we moved here he's ben getting alot of allergies. He's been scratching his eyes alot. I really don't want to spend more money when we already spend 400 on our female puppy cause she had broke into small red bumps. I never had this probably when we were living in Arizona.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1805 Recommendations
Whilst Arizona and California are neighbours, the climate is different and there are some different plants and trees between the two state; even there is a difference between north and south California. It is most likely a allergy to something in California which isn’t found in Arizona (at least around where you were living); I would try him on Benadryl on a dose of 1mg every eight hours to see if there is any improvement. Other than that, I am unable to offer any other useful advice. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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